Sharon Coleman


Before radiation conjoined continents.  In those windy days by the Pacific, when we went to empty our
hands of grades, bills, unpaid work.  We stood separate.  Cold, a cherished forgetting.  Something
immense.  Something distant.   We held our smallness in check.  We held hands, maybe.  Maybe not.  I
walked in circles around beaches and hills.  Thought of a last name of my migrant ancestors I might take
if we marry.  You stood with the vision of waves.

When contaminated clouds circled our planet, my nephew touched a rain puddle for the first time.  He
looked into it: his face?  You stood.  I walked in circles.  Rain came down.  Milk was measured.  Scientists
bartered plausible pathologies for wave-swept birds.  I told my nephew’s parents to take him in.  They
laughed as he splashed his watery likeness.

We held hands, maybe, and walked inside.

At night it was almost Eden.  Nothing more to desire, not even knowledge because that
we almost had.  We became both continent and sea.  Now a motorcycle from Japan
washes up on shore.  I close my eyes, and a seal with the last name of my ancestors
swims by.  Radiation burns across its body.  I didn’t take that name.  I didn’t take yours.
In this bed though, we don’t practice being together because we are.

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